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Implicit bias training: Get a fresh perspective

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Do you have implicit biases? Trick question: We all do — they’re part of human nature. And, it’s up to each of us to learn what our biases are, how they were developed, how they impact our perceptions and actions, and what we can do to counter them.

We know that UC is committed to supporting diversity and inclusivity, but it’s also important to remember that each of us, as UC staff, are responsible for bringing that commitment to fruition every day.

The UC Managing Implicit Bias Series, a six-course Systemwide Talent Management online series, helps demystify the concept of implicit bias, explaining what it is, how it affects us, why it’s important to counter it and more. In the words of one past participant, “This course has opened my eyes!” 

Biases are normal and natural

Because we often associate the word “bias” with negative connotations, it’s easy to get defensive and think: “I’m not biased. Why would I need to learn how to manage bias?”

The truth is that everyone can benefit from training on managing bias because biases are natural; we all have them. Exploring and becoming aware of our own biases is an important part of self-development, team development and building a strong workplace culture.

Here are some key points to understand:

  • There are two main categories of biases: explicit and implicit. Explicit biases are those we can recognize, analyze and self-correct as they occur. Implicit biases occur automatically in our mind, typically without our awareness.
  • Our pre-formed mental templates, also called schema, unconsciously influence how we interpret things we see or experience, creating implicit biases. Because of this, we may inadvertently make unfair assumptions about someone or stereotype them — without even realizing we’re doing so.
  • Although implicit biases reveal themselves unconsciously, the UC Managing Implicit Bias Series can help us to become aware of them so that we can proactively work to counter them.

Training provides a new perspective

As of May 2020, more than 4,100 employees across the UC system have participated in the Managing Implicit Bias series (with another 6,300 in progress) — and many have completed a follow-up impact survey to encourage them to reflect upon what they’ve learned and how they are applying it in the workplace. Their responses are a testament to how impactful the program is: 

“Having this awareness was awakening for me. In some situations, I catch myself when I recognize that I might be experiencing an implicit bias. Then, I ‘recalibrate’ myself to try to filter it out.”

“This series made me aware of an area of bias I didn’t realize I had! Now that I’m conscious of it, I ask fellow supervisors for input to hold myself accountable. 

Two more great features of the UC Managing Implicit Bias Series — it’s free for all UC employees and part of the UC Systemwide People Management Series and Certificate

How to participate in the UC Managing Implicit Bias Series

Access to the series varies by location.

  • Lawrence Berkeley Lab employees: Use this direct link.
  • UC Hastings employees: Contact Andrew Scott to request access.
  • All other UC employees:
    • Go to the UC Learning Center for your location.
    • Log in using your single sign-on username and password.
    • Select the search function (magnifying glass icon in the upper right corner).
    • On the search page, leave the dropdown in its default position (LEARNING), then type the words implicit bias in the search field.
    • In the list of options, locate the UC Managing Implicit Bias Series (Bundle) and click SELECT > View Details to view the full list of courses and get started.

If you are not able to gain access using the following instructions, please contact your local Human Resources training, learning and development team for assistance.

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